This research proposal aims at fabricating efficient electrospun composite membranes for treating highly saline water using membrane distillation (MD) technology. Unlike other technologies for desalination, membrane distillation requires critical membrane characteristics such as high hydrophobicity, low thermal conductivity, high porosity, excellent resistance to chemicals and fouling etc. Polymeric membranes produced through electrospinning method are promising candidate for MD due to their fibrous structure, high void formation and flexibility of process/parameter that can tailor membrane surface characteristics and bulk properties. The challenges for membranes utilized in MD is pore wetting (consequently poor rejection) and low permeation. This problem aggravates for membranes treated with high concentration of salts. Various methods have been tried in the past to avoid wetting problem in the membrane, however use of functionalized particles in electrospun composite membrane is the most robust solution to fabricate membrane that could enhance the permeate flux and rejection specially when used in membrane distillation. The objectives of the proposed work will be to initially select polymers with specific properties and fabricate electrospun membranes suitable for MD. The goal will be to optimise the process parameters such as electrospinning voltage, feed rate, spinning distance, membrane material thickness, concentration, feed rate and spinning distance to obtain the optimized nanofiber mats in terms of fibre diameter/morphology and porosity. Later, polymers for composite membrane and functionalized nanoparticles compatible with membrane matrix will be chosen to electrospun a robust membrane for treating highly saline water
|Effective start/end date||1/07/21 → 1/01/23|
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